Duty, Not Right, Is Paramount
    Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Spirituality
    Dated: 3/29/2008
Kardama Muni was once asked by his father, Lord Brahma, to help increase population by having many children. He, therefore, got married and had nine daughters.

After doing what was desired by his father, the Muni wished to return to his renounced life. Upon coming to know of this, his wife reminded him of his next duty - to get their daughters suitably married. The Muni agreed and looked for suitable matches for his daughters; thereafter, he got them married.

After that the Muni again desired to leave. His wife then reminded him about his obligation towards her; she needed a male support for the rest of her life. The dutiful Muni agreed and stayed. In due course, the couple was blessed with a son. Once the son grew up, the Muni left his wife in the care of his son and went to practice meditation in a forest.

This story from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is instructive regarding fulfilling one’s duty. The Muni first fulfilled his duty towards his father by having children, as desired by him. Then he got them married to suitable persons, thus carrying out his duty towards his children. Later, he took care of his wife. Finally, the Muni began working towards his duty to the self - to seek liberation.

Everyone born as human being has duties depending on several factors, such as circumstances one is placed in, one’s nature, time and place, etc. Since every individual is unique, these duties are different as well. Of these duties, some are primary, while others are secondary. Some duties must be taken up immediately depending on one’s physical and mental limits, while some others can be postponed for some time.

Since duties are so important to us, how does one determine what one’s duties are? The Bhagavad Gita has warned that without fulfilling these duties one cannot even maintain one’s body. Unfortunately, most of us decide them whimsically without either referring to scriptures or consulting with people who are aware of them. And the result is failure on all major fronts - success, happiness and liberation.

One has duties towards oneself, one’s family, society, nation, etc. The topmost duty, however is towards the self - one’s endeavour to achieve salvation. Such duties must be approved by scriptures and should be sanctioned by the existing norms. Also, one must avoid hurting others in the fulfillment of one’s duties.

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